Every time I hear Blue Sky Mine by Midnight Oil, about the Wittenoom mining tragedy, I’m taken back in time.
To 23 May 1988, to probably the saddest TV interview I have ever seen.
The interview featured on the ABC Four Corners episode called Blue Death.
Blue Death was about the Wittenoom tragedy in Western Australia which was built around a blue asbestos mine (hence the Midnight Oil song title).
Unfortunately, miners were exposed to asbestos and started becoming sick and dying.
Sadly, as this interview illustrated, they weren’t the only ones.
I can see her now. In a hospital bed being interviewed. Her thoughts are on the lingering death of her husband.
And in tears she says, “No-one should die like this.” Sadly that was her fate too.
Out of 20,000 workers and residents, over 2000 have died (See http://www.asbestosdiseases.org.au/the-wittenoom-tragedy.html).
Despite the authorities being aware of the dangers, they didn’t have the power to shut down the mine. Nor did the owners (CSR through its subsidiary Midalco) itself comply (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSR_Limited#Wittenoom_controversy ).
The Four Corners story was about the fate of miners and residents taking action against the company. The story stated that the company delayed legal action for as long as possible. In the hope that the litigants would not survive.
The most upsetting aspect to me was how the company stayed only focused on shareholder value only.
What worries me is that this could happen again. And then I read and listened to this…Four degrees should be ok!